Andy Uhrich: I’m Andy Uhrich and this is an interview for the MISL project through NYU with Rachael Stoeltje, and we are in her office at the Wells Library [Indiana University]—correct?
Rachael Stoeltje: Correct.
AU: Thank you, Rachael. First question: What is your job title?
RS: My job title is Film Archivist.
AU: That is a broad title. How does that title situate you in the library?
RS: My position is a librarian position, so it’s an academic appointment like other librarian positions on campus. However, it’s a little different from everybody else’s librarian position since it’s a little bit more like a film archivist and curator and things like that. It’s been defined as a librarian position because I’m within the libraries. But it encompasses pretty much all realms of preservation [and] access with the collections.
AU: So you mentioned the differences between you and other librarians. Could you expand on that?
RS: Well, most of them work with books, for starters. And it’s kind of unique right now for the libraries to be ... having an film archive within the library is unique for them ... to have this type of a special collection under the main library.
AU: Instead of being —?
RS: A separate archive or a special collection like the Lilly [Library], or the Black Film Center Archive outside of the Wells Library itself. And I think that’s kind of unusual, even across the country. I don’t know that there are that many film archives that are plopped down in the middle of the library.
AU: And how did that special situation come about?
RS: Well of course when Bill Cagle was Director of the Lilly Library, he purchased a lot of big collections. In 1982, he purchased [the collection of John] Ford. And [that of] Orson Wells in the eighties. And [that of] Peter Bogdanovich in the nineties. And then, the [David S.]Bradley collection was willed to the Lilly in the nineties. So there’s always been a strong history there. And on campus there was a strong history for film, with the old educational collection. And the educational collection was given to the libraries in 2005 or 2006. So [the library] was given 32,000 films to deal with.
AU: Which is a whole lot.
RS: Which changes everything. So they needed to deal with them.
AU: When you say [the films] were given, where did they [come from]?
RS: They were part of a department called Instructional Support Services and earlier the Audio Visual Center, which was the major national distribution center for a huge number of educational films and NET films from the forties through the nineties.
AU: [Were they involved in] production or did they just distribute?
RS: They produced a large quantity of films as well. It was both media production and distribution.
AU: So they had [these 32,000 films] before?
RS: Yes, they stated collecting in the forties and continued throughout the 80s—
AU: And why did they ... you said it’s 2005?
RS: 2005 or 2006.
AU: And why at that point did the library get them?
RS: I think that decision came from above them, and I’m not sure why that was entirely. I think the department changed [its] focus, and they weren’t distributing films anymore.
AU: And do you know if they had been up until that point?
RS: They had been renting films and videos until some point in the 80s.
AU: That’s pretty exciting—that they were still distributing films that late. Even if no one’s using them, they were still doing it that late of a date.
AU: So, let’s just back up a little bit. What were you doing at that point?
RS: You mean, what I was doing professionally?
RS: For a long time I worked as consultant for the Kinsey Institute Collections, the ISS educational collections, and the Lilly Libraries’ Bradley and Bogdanovich [collections] for about twelve years.
AU: A consultant?
RS: So I processed a bunch of collections and cataloged and rehoused.
AU: So physical inspection and also—
RS: Identification. For the Bradley [collection], we did everything. We cataloged everything, we re-canned, we re-cored, we re-housed, and we moved it all to the ALF.
AU: Can you define ALF?
RS: The Auxiliary Library Facility. It’s our storage facility for off-site housing of library materials. It’s fifty degrees and thirty percent relative humidity.
RS: All of the film collections on campus are stored there now except for a few tiny little ones that we’ll try to get moved there.
AU: How did that come about?
RS: The consultancy?
RS: Well, I was at the Eastman House, and after that I came back here and I had a job in the libraries in the preservation department. I was an outreach for photo and film collections. And then with various changes in life, I didn’t work full-time. And they still needed help with all the film collections. So, Kinsey hired me separately, and ISS hired me separately, and Lilly hired me separately.
AU: One of the things the project wants to figure out is how jobs are created. I’m not trying to get personal, but it seems like you created your own position?
RS: I definitely assisted in the creation of a position when I first got back from Eastman House. And then I just worked ... I’m not sure that I would say that I created the position, I was just doing ... film archiving, but not in a real position for quite some time.
AU: But they knew you from your work at the library and from the preservation department.
RS: Right. And this town is pretty small.
AU: That is true.
RS: And I spent a great deal of my year at the Eastman House training to work with these collections.
AU: And did you go to the [Selznick School] program?
RS: I was at the Eastman House before the program existed, so I went through ... it was then called The Archival and Photographic Training Program on the photo side. But since I wanted to work with film as well and Ed Stratmann is the loveliest man on the planet, he let me work with him and he taught me a great deal and guided me towards what to read and other resources in the Film Department.
AU: So then, after your success they were like, “We need to start a program and actually train people”?
RS: No, I think Paolo [Cherchi Usai, the program’s founder] was already working at it. So my year was Paolo’s first year [at Eastman House]. And so I got to sit in on some of his classes. But he didn’t have that program going. And I can’t remember when exactly they started that program.
AU: Late nineties, I think?
RS: I was there ’94-’95, so that was a while ago. And I was definitely not responsible for the program ...
AU: Oh, I was [kidding]. But I’m sure your experience showed, to some degree, the need for [a program such as that one]. That’s another part of this interview process, is how people get trained and how that translates into work experience—and if there needs to be transformation in [the] training [programs].
RS: [8:00] I don’t think there were any programs when I went through [school].
AU: I don’t think there were either. So, you were at the Eastman House, you came here to the Preservation Department in the Wells Library, and then from there to consulting. And you said you did that for about twelve years?
RS: Probably about that, yes.
AU: And then, how did you transition from consulting to the position you have now?
RS: Probably a combination of suggestions I was making over the years and the fact that they had all these film collections that they needed to deal with and the other various things that have happened on campus over the last two or three years. I think [all this] led them to the point where they felt like this was actually a priority so they made a position and called me up.
AU: And when was that?
RS: August of ... I’ve only been in this job now since January of 2010.
AU: That’s great, so only a little over a year. That’s fantastic.
AU: So you say Film Librarian. Do you work with other moving image or audiovisual [formats]?
RS: I work with all the library film materials, which includes all of Lilly’s moving image formats, and all of the library’s stuff, which [includes] the old ISS educational [materials] as well some of the University Archives film collections. And what we’re actually doing right now is establishing our proper archive with our mission and history and rules and policies (and I can share that with you). I think that, [based on what] it’s turning into—this is actually going to answer your question—[my responsibilities] will include some video. Historically even the old educational collection and the IU produced material that is on video, so video’s just part of it. So I work with quite a bit of video. And then not so much audio. But as part of the media preservation task force stuff, it’s sort of creaking in there. I don’t know if you know too much about that?
AU: Just the report that came out two years ago, I believe.
RS: And after the report there was a taskforce. There are six of us on it, and we’re working towards building a media preservation lab.
AU: And for the purposes of this audio recording, what is the taskforce called?
RS: The Media Preservation Taskforce.
AU: And [you’re] looking at the media holdings across the whole campus?
RS: Yes. And the thought is that time-based media, especially magnetic media, are deteriorating and will be lost at some point. We’re looking at a pretty tight fifteen-year period to start digitizing some of the stuff that might be lost. Not every single thing, but actually a lot. So it’s a pretty ambitious and very cool project. And then film, obviously, especially now that it’s out at the ALF, we’ll start to digitize that too.
AU: That’s super exciting. One of the hopes of this project is to find new avenues for moving image preservationists to get jobs, and one might be to contact you in a couple years.
RS: There is a lot of really, really cool stuff happening here.
AU: So you work with archival video, but in terms of distinguishing exactly what you do within the library.... You don’t work with DVD or VHS collections that might be checked out for classroom use or students or stuff like that?
RS: No, I don’t work with the stuff that’s down [in the Media and Reserve Services]. No, I have the old 3/4-inch U-matic and some other older formats ... just old video.
AU: So the stuff that you say is downstairs for checkout —how is that handled? By a different department?
RS: Yes, that’s Media and Reserve [Services].
AU: You were talking about working on archival policies. In what department in the library is your job as Film Librarian? Is it created as its own? Does it answer to other ...?
RS: Do you mean me personally or the archive?
AU: Let’s say you personally and then the collection.
RS: Last year the whole library restructured and I’m part of the new Arts & Humanities department. So I am in a department with four other Arts and Humanities subject librarians.
And then as to what we’re building right now as far as where organizationally an archive location would be, the archive will probably end up as the offshoot of the Associate Dean for Special Collections but that is not set just yet.
AU: And that seems to make sense because it is a special collection.
AU: And has it been seen as special collection before?
RS: Well it hasn’t really been seen in the library as anything because it’s been out at the bowling alley and nobody’s touched it.
AU: So previously the films were at the bowling alley and now they’re at the ALF, correct?
AU: And can you talk about that transition?
RS: All the old educational films used to be housed in Franklin Hall, which is pretty prime real estate on campus. So in 1994, they were all moved out to this old bowling alley that was converted into storage space. I first started working with some of those collections in 1996. So they were out there forever. And actually it was even better storage than some of them had been in before. So all the Kinsey [materials] moved out there in 1999, and we had a special secure cage for that. And when the Bradley collection came in ... do you want to hear about that?
AU: The cage? Yes.
RS: The cage was for security purposes; we had an alarm system and just a separate [area].
AU: Just for the Kinsey films?
RS: Just for the Kinsey films.
AU: Because ...?
RS: They’re special.
AU: They’re special because of some sort of value or because of rarity or because of the nature of the images?
RS: Probably both. I mean—they’re really unique. The stag collection—that’s super unique. All the stuff that’s.... Of the 9800 things that were there, the stags are pretty unique.
AU: It’s an interesting collection. And I think people are always curious [about it being] treated differently than others.
RS: Well, yeah, for obvious reasons. There was a separate cage for added security. All those films were in the bowling alley, and it was sixty-eight or seventy degrees. When I came on board last year we had a one-year period to get it out because the university didn’t own the building and the libraries, when given the collections, were also given the rent for the building. And so there was a big push to get out of the building. So, they gave me some librarians from the Business/ SPEA Library which was being renovated and lots of hourly money and we basically went through and tested and re-canned and bar coded and cataloged and packed up and shipped
over to new storage.
AU: And this was done since January 2010?
RS: Yes, I did this February 2010 through November 2010.
AU: Wow. And how many reels?
RS: Probably right around fifty or sixty thousand reels.
AU: You talked about a number of people that helped you. Can you talk about where they came from and if you had to train them in film handling.
RS: One librarian, who is a Business/SPEA Librarian, they were renovating her building so she was free for a while. And she was mainly doing all the records management. So it was less about film handling than data management. And then another person who has floated around from project to project that they gave me—same thing, [she did] data management. Over the course of the year, I hired nine different library science and information science students who were interested in film preservation. I trained them, and they did AD strip testing and sometimes title verification. And now I have a couple of them doing a little more elaborate research projects to start working on some real grants for film preservation.
AU: Through NFPF? Or other places?
RS: I did submit one to [NFPF], but also the Film Foundation for some Bradley titles. That’s what we’re heading towards.
AU: Oh, that’s exciting. And so there’s no training in film preservation in the library science school?
RS: No, but they’re all interested, so I’ve taken it on as sort of a learning/teaching experience because they’re all super gung-ho.
AU: [Are they working in] internships or do they get class credit?
RS: No, not right now. I just hired them. But they always have questions, so I talk about, you know, the Kodak edge code [for example]. I mean, that’s such a cool thing for dating films. And all of the basic stuff.
AU: And is this training of employees part of your job?
RS: Well, the library and the university generally have a whole academic mission. So, anytime there’s something about assisting students, I think it’s probably part of my job.
AU: That’s really great. And it’s exciting they get to have that extra learning experience.
RS: Well they’re all really great and enthusiastic. It’s fun to have people who actually want to know what you do.
AU: And it’s good that there’s that sort of relationship between the library school and media preservation on campus and film in particular. I think that’s a nice avenue to keep open.
AU: And so after the films got transferred to the ALF, was there ... especially the films that had been distributed ...
RS: The educational collection?
AU: Yes, the educational collection. Did they have to be cataloged?
RS: There was a MediaNet database that came with the collection and we imported it all into IUCAT, so they’re not super fabulous records. And there were 29,000 records that were in there. So all of those are in IUCAT, but they’re still suppressed until all my policies are up. I get [around] one request a week for films, and this is without them being publicly findable.
AU: And how they do know to contact you?
RS: Because they know IU used to have these films. Or they might have the old books, like that red book up there. And, the Libraries are fortunate to have the best reference librarian for the educational collection. Martha Harsanyi has worked with the collection for 40 years and she transferred with the collection. Some people still know that she is here and contact her directly as well.
Since we get requests now, I figure once we flip the records on and they’re searchable, I think that we’ll get lots more requests. So I want to have the policies in place.
AU: For how [patrons] can use [the collections] ...?
RS: Well, most people want copies. Then you get into copyright and a lot of things.
AU: And, when people have been contacting you so far, who are they?
RS: All over the place: Somebody doing a documentary on St. Louis housing projects; somebody in Australia; somebody doing searches on the history of canals in New York; somebody in Germany, who was actually interested in the Bradley silent movie stars; somebody doing research at Northwestern and University of Chicago. Basically anyone from academics to footage researchers.
AU: And so, you have to come up with all the policies?
RS: Yes, I’ve written them. But I’m still getting everything into place and have a few other things to take care of as well.
AU: From the cataloging to the requests to talking to the person who is making the request to making sure that ...
RS: And making sure our service point ... Down in media reserves, we have one Steenbeck and one 35mm flatbed. And then we’re purchasing a second Steenbeck to use out at the ALF. To finish up, there were 29,000 records that were in MediaNet, and then there were a lot of films that weren’t in MediaNet. So I have about seven thousand films out there that need real cataloging. And that’s in the cue—getting a real cataloger.
AU: So that’s going to be a position ...?
AU: Hired to just do that oversight or would you then have a film cataloger in the library?
RS: I think this person will be someone who can deal with media in general. We have video catalogers, but we don’t have necessarily a motion picture film cataloger.
AU: And this would be for just the archival collections, or ...?
RS: Well, for any of them. We’ve done different things with different collections cataloging-wise. But we did also just get in a new educational collection I got from Oregon in November—another twelve thousand titles. And I think that’s going to continue to grow. Besides the giant Oregon collection, I’ve had three other people contact me about either donating or selling collections. So I think that with the cinema, and once we get our website up, there’s going to be more and more coming in, if it fits our scope.
AU: So that raises a lot of questions. So, one: Will the films that are already in the library be searchable through IUCAT—?
RS: Yes. They’re 29,000 records in the educational collection that are there. And they’re just suppressed or shadowed. And then we’ll put those online hopefully in the next four or five months.
AU: And the access will be mainly to people on campus, or—?
RS: The collections will be open to everyone but will be available for onsite viewing only. However, there is a lot of film with rights in the public domain and there is a lot of material that IU made. We are looking at digitizing and making a great deal of the material available online if the rights are not an issue.
AU: And is there already a user interface through a website where people can show video through the library?
RS: Well, I’ve started to stream stuff on my website, but that’s not public yet.
AU: So you’re having a website created to ...
RS: I have a website that one of my students made —it’s really lovely.
AU: So you’re sort of in charge of it all? I mean, you’re creating the website [where we’ll have access to these films], and you’re in charge of ... well, a lot it seems.
RS: Well, it’s cool. And it’s fun.
AU: Yes, this job should be fun.
AU: Not only are you in charge in everything, but you talked about the films from Oregon. So you’re still acquiring film collections?
RS: Right. So that one happened to be an educational [collection], like books and textbooks, but early on they were films. There were twelve thousand titles and I asked that they do a comparison of titles and we only overlapped something like eighteen percent. So it’s a nice complement to what we already have. So it’s all classroom educational stuff.
AU: So that’s the collecting mission?
RS: My mission, which I can show to you, is if the films that are being considered for acquisition fall within the scope of what we already have, or if the film is something that the IU Cinema and Jon Vickers [director of the new IU Cinema] is interested in, then we can consider taking it in.
So, for example, another little collection that I just went up to pick up included about twenty-seven titles, all Miriam Hopkins films. So in this case, the criteria that I considered for taking it in was: if we can present them, if they’re useful to the cinema, if they fit the scope of the collections that we already have, which could encompass a lot if you think of between the educational stuff and all of Lilly’s filmmaking collections and the Lilly’s Bradley collection.
However, there’s another huge collection that is up for consideration but ... Well, there are costs to taking every collection, right?
AU: Yes, there are a lot of costs. And I guess my question is, so you have the backing of the library to take on this ... twelve thousand titles or cans is a lot. Do you have to make a case for each collection? Do they give you a certain amount of leeway or a budget?
RS: I don’t really have a budget, but the administration has been incredibly supportive. The Libraries have devoted considerable resources to the film collections from countless staff in cataloging, administration and the ALF area, to significant archival can purchases, to A-D strip purchases to equipment including a second Steenbeck and a stand-alone freezer to put all the most advanced vinegar syndrome films in.
AU: And where is that?
RS: Right outside of ALF.
AU: For collections: Are you waiting for collections to come your way or are you actively looking?
RS: I’m not actively looking. So that Oregon collection, I think ... somebody talked to Rick Prelinger, somebody talked to Geoff Alexander. Rick wanted like five titles. Jeff couldn’t take something that large. They talked to the Library of Congress, but I don’t know, they have such a backlog .... So they just sent them to me. And, I do have to go to people above me and talk about whether or not ... Because there are costs: New cans, AD strips, cataloging, space in ALF.
AU: And is there a lot of space left in ALF?
RS: The area for film can hold about two hundred thousand reels.
AU: So you’re less than half?
AU: Well, that’s exciting.
RS: There’s room to grow.
AU: You talked briefly about the taskforce. Are you involved in other committees and other things in the library outside of just your job?
RS: Well, librarians are given an academic appointment. So they’re tenure-track. And with that comes all of the committee work. It’s normal committee-work on everything. But nothing like the taskforce, because we meet weekly. And then we actually do a lot of other stuff. We’ve taken big field trips together too.
AU: That’s a big part of your week at this point, and that’s going to continue for a while I imagine?
AU: And the ultimate plan with that is ... you said something about creating a media lab?
RS: Yes, a media digitization lab ultimately, to digitize film, audio, and video—a humongous portion of everything on campus.
AU: And that would have to be a new building?
RS: So this first year (July to July) is planning. And the next year would be building. And the next year is operational. So, this year ... nothing is final right now. We’re looking at spaces that exist already and it keeps growing, so there’s now discussion of a new building but nothing is firm at this point.
AU: It’s almost unbelievable. That’s really great.
RS: But again, I think the support comes from multiple areas across the campus ... President McRobbie seems to really like film. And then the provost also has decided that this is a good mission to preserve these collections.
AU: And maybe we can talk about that a little bit. It seems that between the IU Cinema and this effort and having such a huge amount of space at the ALF. And you talk about the president liking film, but is there something that generated all this interest?
RS: I think it’s a lot of different forces coming together. Do you know David Francis [former Chief of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division at the Library of Congress]? He lives here in Bloomington now and he is active in the field—locally, nationally and internationally. But I think having him here is one of those things that came together. He’s so great and supportive of the work that we are doing.
I think that there have just been a number of coinciding and supportive people and interests that have come together at the same time—and David Francis is just one piece of that puzzle.
AU: I ask partially too because one of the goals is to figure out if there are models for these kinds of positions being created in libraries.
RS: Like what they’ve done here?
AU: Well, every job is going to be different. One of the things to figure out is where media librarians fit; where the collections fit within a library; whether it’s the sort of thing that can be replicable elsewhere; if it’s a singular kind of event based on the collection. It seems to me somewhat here that there was just a huge collection.
RS: There are huge collections on this campus—substantial, I think. But you’re asking nationally?
AU: I guess that would be my question. Have you talked to other universities? Have you talked to other librarians? I could foresee places having a huge collection without the support of the [administration]?
RS: Well we didn’t necessarily have the support here always. I think when I talk to people and tell them what we’re doing everyone is fairly amazed in this day and age. On the other hand, I would say in the library world, special collections are sort of rising to the top as more and more material is being digitized bookwise. And it seems like special collections are getting a different ... people are interested in them.
AU: Because they have access to them through digitization? Is that making their value increase?
RS: It makes your holdings more unique, right?
AU: That’s a good point.
RS: I’m just guessing here, I don’t really know.
AU: And in terms of your training personally at the Eastman House, did it prepare you for your job? Did you have to learn a lot once you got here?
RS: I think I did a lot of helpful reading and some hands-on stuff. And I would say—and this is a little plug for AMIA—my first conference I went to was 1996 in Atlanta. And I met Ken Weissman and ... a lovely man, Canadian, just passed away—?
AU: [William] O’Farrell.
RS: And they were so welcoming. And at the time, Ken Weissman was still out in Dayton (Ohio) and he helped me a great deal. So I would say that AMIA-member mentorship assisted in my training as well. I met Rick Prelinger that year. I met certain people that I could call, when it came to something that I wasn’t sure about. Because the Eastman House’s collections obviously are radically different than these collections, and doing real, hands-on restoration work, is not something we’ve started to do here although hopefully at least with one collection we’ll get that up and running too. So I would say I got a really good basis at the Eastman House, especially with Ed [Stratmann] who guided me. And I got a pretty good handle on how they catalog, some of the general basics. And AMIA also has been just hugely helpful because people are so gracious and lovely.
AU: A good shout-out to AMIA.
RS: And Wendy Shay, she’s now president. She was doing a basic training class that first year with Alan Lewis.
AU: So there were other avenues [for training], organized both through AMIA and personal relationships.
RS: I guess it’s like any job, really. Except AMIA is so helpful; not all professions are like that I think.
AU: In terms of your experience as a moving image specialist—how has the rest of the library seen or thought of that position? Do you stand out from other librarians? Has that been a boon? Have people asked, “What do you do?”
RS: Well, nobody’s asked me—that’s a good question. I don’t know. That’d be something to ask other people; nobody shares that information. It is different than lots of jobs [here in the library]. If you looked at Lilly—it’s a little different.
AU: And would you think that your position, because there’s an archivist at the Lilly I imagine. And I know that there’s one at the Black Film Center Archive. And do you still deal with their films? Or do they deal with them?
RS: I deal with Lilly’s films because Lilly is part of the libraries. The Black Film Center is actually not part of the library system.
AU: Are there other special collections on campus where you don’t have charge of the films?
RS: Kinsey. I don’t have anything to do with the Kinsey.
AU: Okay, so the films are kept at the ALF?
RS: Right. All Kinsey’s films. Black Film Center’s are at ALF also, and the University Archives, but they’re part of the library system.
AU: And so when those films moved to the ALF you were still in charge of the physical effort to move them or ...?
RS: Mary Huelsbeck took care of all of her stuff—the films at the Black Film Center. And the Kinsey sent two people up. We actually tested all of their films for vinegar syndrome—my students did all the Kinsey stuff just because training people who don’t handle film ... it was easier for us to do it. But then they barcoded and packed it up.
AU: When you were talking about stuff that is going to be available through IUCAT, those films will be available through their own ...
RS: Kinsey—I don’t know what they ended up doing. And Mary made a separate—hers is just an Excel [spreadsheet]. Because to go into ALF you actually have to have an identifiable item with a barcode; that’s their whole thing is about finding something. You can’t just shelve it out there.
AU: Well, that’s good! And I think you’re in a sort of interesting position because you didn’t go through library school but you’re training library school students. Has there been any question there? How has that worked out? The library school is happy to have you train their students?
RS: Well, I’m not officially training their students. I’m just officially hiring their students.
AU: Well, that’s a job.
RS: There is some talk of me teaching a class in the library school on moving image archiving, so I don’t know that that matters.
AU: That’s good, I think. That shows that they’re not letting certain titles separate ...
RS: I don’t actually deal with them and talk to them about training their students. But from that end, it makes me think that it doesn’t matter.
AU: Maybe this is a question for the students, but when you say they have an interest in moving image preservation .... Do they hope to get a job doing that in a library?
RS: I don’t know. I think they all think that film preservation is interesting. I mean, I do too. Of course, too, there are many people who don’t. I think some of them might be interested in working in a film archive when they finish their degrees but I don’t know if they’ve ...
AU: They haven’t expressed an interest or ...?
RS: I mean they’re all different, but they all had something to do with production or audio or film. One was a projectionist. Right now, all of my students have different interests and they are all getting lots of different work experiences while in school so they could potentially land at a variety of different places. I do not think that any of them have their hopes set exactly on a film archive. But I think they’re interested. And two of them went to AMIA this year for the first time. So I think it’s kind of opening up that world.
AU: Does it seem like there’s maybe more crossover between the AMIA world and the library science world through that kind of way. I mean, does it seem like an easy fit?
RS: Well, it does to me. It makes perfect sense to me that librarians and archivists and film preservation ... it’s all ... If you look at the course descriptions, there’s collection development and cataloging and access. To me it’s obvious. Is it not obvious to you?
AU: It seems that it could be. I guess my question would be, you being hired as a film librarian, you didn’t have to have an MLIS degree to work here? And one of the larger questions that we’re trying to answer with this project is, does that become a requirement? Does it become an impediment [if you don’t have an MLIS]? Would the MIAP degree allow you to go into certain libraries and maybe not others. And you have not had that barrier.
RS: Right. And I couldn’t tell you why.
AU: But that’s never been an issue here?
RS: I don’t think so.
AU: That’s great that they base it on your knowledge and skill and ability instead of ...?
RS: I guess so. I mean, they’re aware that I don’t have an MLIS.
AU: That’s fantastic. Earlier, [off-tape], you were talking about digitizing and the website. So can you talk about how you hope to publicize these collections, besides just having them in IUCAT—other forms of outreach. Already on campus, it seems there’s interest in these things. Other places probably have to strive harder to publicize their collections. I don’t know. But can you talk about your efforts to publicize?
RS: Obviously a huge first is the website, which again, a student has built. And it’s great. That would be the big first step. Right now, for streamable [content], I only have fifteen films up there. But some of them are really fun. And then, collection descriptions. And then, hopefully I think what we’re going to do ... A lot of these collections will be searchable through IUCAT but not all of them. Like the Lilly’s Bogdonovich collection we have in a finding aid. What I’d like to see is a searchable database within the system too. Because IUCat is also not WorldCat. My records are not in WorldCat so they’re not searchable to the world. It’s only if you know that they are here. Because there not ... There are levels of cataloging and we didn’t have trained catalogers create these records originally. So I guess the website would be the first huge thing I’d like to see us do. And then of course ... We’ve applied for two grants and there’s a third one coming up. And just as we start to do more and more work, and if we get all of those, then over time that will help. I think websites alone are huge.
AU: And when you say searchable the idea would be you would search by keyword or titles or production companies ...? And then what would come up?
RS: Well, there’s one thing I’m looking at right now—Black Light, which I think UNC uses. If we took all our records and put them in this nice searchable database, even these would be googleable, and then you could bring up your records. So yeah, anything that’s in the record now, which is pretty full: title, cast, date, production company, physical description, color, sound.
AU: And if it were digitized and you had the rights to put it up there, would the goal be that they could watch streaming video?
RS: Yes, I should show you because it’s looks really cool right now.
AU: Maybe I’ll move the camera.
RS: So it’s going to be http://filmarchive.indiana.edu. So what it is now ... So the collections are listed. This will give you an idea: History, which is pretty clean; About US, which talks about the collections a little bit.
AU: Overall, I think there’s a lot of really amazing stuff going on here. So, very exciting. I think that’s pretty much all the questions. So, I want to thank you so much.
RS: You’re so welcome.